Louis Hicks has had it tough all of his life.
Even as a young man, he had huge responsibilities – when his mother passed, he took care of his two young sisters as the man of the house.
The 92-year-old World War II veteran is used to taking care of others and not asking for any help for himself as a result. He’s proud of his hard-won self-sufficiency.
In an interview with Austin’s ABC affiliate KVUE News, he described how his past had made him loathe to ask for assistance from others:
“You hate to ask anybody [for help] ’cause sometimes they’ll frown on you— and I’m a true veteran. I won’t ask. I won’t ask.”
Still, we all realize how important it is to ask for help, even when we don’t think we need it.
The heater in his home malfunctioned. The damage to the unit was so bad that it had started burning a hole through the floor of his home.
When he noticed the issues, he decided to rig something up himself instead of pull from an already tight budget. Showing that classic independence off, he made do with materials from his home.
It wasn’t until Hicks was forced to call 911 after seeing some thieves attempt to steal power tools from his shed that others got involved in his situation.
The officers who showed up to take his report were the ones who noticed his not-so-ideal heating situation.
Officer Chastity Salazar was getting the report together when she noticed his stove was on with nothing cooking. She asked about it and Hicks explained he was using it to warm the home since the heater was broken.
Hicks was using a portable fan to blow the heated air from his gas-powered stove and oven into his living room.
“That’s just what we do as police officers,” she told KVUE. “I had just realized that he’s using the oven. I know that’s not safe. His gas is on.”
Salazar knew she needed to help and contacted the Austin Police Department for help. With the Austin Cops 4 Charities, the Austin Police Association, and St. David’s Foundation all contributing to the cause, they were able to deliver a bigger (and safer) surprise to Hicks, a man who never, ever asked for anything.
They got him a brand-new heater, free of charge.
Hicks was stunned when Salazar showed at his door with her fellow officer Bino Cadenas to deliver the gift.
He couldn’t hold back his tears at the gesture.
“I’ve never had no one do nothing for me. After my mother passed away and left me to take care of my two sisters … nobody never did nothing to help me.”
It took 92 years, but someone had finally lent the veteran a helping hand – and a life-saving one at that. And he accepted it with grace and gratitude.
But that wasn’t all the officers did for him. One week later, they returned to drop off another gift – a new electric fireplace!
When the amazing story was shown on the news, neighbors and the community all banded together to help the man ever further! Gifts started showing up at his doorstep each day from people who just wanted to be kind to a man who fought for their freedom.
Salazar told KVUE she’s happy to have helped a man who’s done so much for his country:
“He’s just offered me a lot of kindness, too, so to know that he’s also served, and now I’m able to serve and give back to people like him,” she said.
Be sure to scroll down below to see the touching moment when Hicks received the surprise of a lifetime.
Please SHARE this with your friends and family.